The Presidential Daily Brief


  1.  Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson

    Fallout From Panama Papers Stretches From Iceland to China

    Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca has filed a complaint with state prosecutors over what they say was an external hack of their data. The company had 11.5 million documents leaked in what’s turning into an embarrassing scandal for dozens of world leaders and celebrities. Icelandic Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson says he’s stepping down from the top job for “an unspecified period,” the offices of UEFA — European football’s governing body — were searched today in relation to the leaks, and relatives of China’s top leaders, including Xi Jinping, have been named in the papers.

  2. diabetes

    WHO Report: Diabetes Has Ballooned Worldwide

    It has to be stopped. One in 11 adults currently suffer from diabetes — that’s 422 million — and the number of cases has nearly quadrupled over the last 35 years, with a concentration in low- and middle-income countries. Researchers say most of the increase is in cases of Type 2 diabetes, which is associated with poor diet and fitness habits —and while aging populations account for some of it, the WHO is calling on society, governments and the food industry to step up with policies that’ll help people eat well and exercise.

  3. gallows

    Amnesty International Reports Global Surge in Executions

    And that’s just the verified ones. Government-sanctioned executions increased 54 percent worldwide last year, the human rights group says, with an estimated 1,634 people put to death, the highest total in 25 years. Saudi Arabia, Iran and Pakistan led the charge — the U.S. was fifth with 28 deaths — but Amnesty’s total didn’t include China, believed to far outpace other countries, because their data is kept secret. Meanwhile, 140 nations have abolished the death penalty “in law or practice,” making capital punishers “a small and increasingly isolated minority.”

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    White House Steps Up Tax Crackdown

    It’s time to pay. The U.S. is championing new proposals that could scupper “inversion” deals, mergers with international firms to avoid paying corporate taxes stateside. On Tuesday, Obama called for lower corporate tax rates, but also for closing loopholes for big business. After his remarks, pharmaceutical giant Pfizer announced that it plans to cancel its $150 billion takeover of Irish firm Allergan, which has been specifically criticized by politicians on both sides of the aisle this campaign season — and some fear more mergers will fall victim to the chill.

  5. Putin Creates New National Guard, Le Pen Fined for Holocaust Denial

    Putin creates new National Guard to combat terror. (BBC)

    Jean-Marie Le Pen has been fined $34,000 for Holocaust denial. (DW)

    Mississippi law allowing LGBT discrimination could launch legal action. (AP)

    EU braces for Dutch vote in referendum on Ukraine. (NYT)

    Seventeen die in Congo’s post-election clashes. (France24)

    Debunked Rolling Stone rape accuser ordered to answer questions in lawsuit. (Reuters)

    Libyan authorities relent, back unity government. (Al Jazeera)


  1. merle 3662233628 80c03a30bb o

    Country Star Merle Haggard Dies at 79

    One of country music’s famed outlaws, who channeled outsiders and working men with songs like “Fightin’ Side of Me” and “Okie From Muskogee,” died of pneumonia on his 79th birthday yesterday. Haggard’s tunes about the hard life weren’t just an act: He grew up poor, fell into petty crime in his teens and did a stint in San Quentin for a bungled burglary. His rags-to-riches success saw him top music charts for decades, and he’s being remembered by colleagues like Carrie Underwood as “a true entertainer … a legend.”

  2. janet jackson

    Janet Jackson Postpones Tour to ‘Plan Family’

    The good times are on hold. Putting her Postponing her “Unbreakable” European tour, the 49-year-old singer and actress announced she and her husband are “planning our family.” The Rhythm Nation star didn’t use the word ”pregnant,” but she and Qatari businessman Wissam Al Mana are reportedly trying to have a baby, with Jackson saying “I have to rest up, doctor’s orders.” Any children would be a first for the acclaimed performer, who told fans she’s excited to tour again sometime in the near future.

  3. whatsapp

    WhatsApp Messenger Turns on Encryption for All Users

    They’re on lockdown. The world’s most-popular messaging app just instituted end-to-end encryption for one billion users’ conversations. Even WhatsApp itself can’t break into the data — a move that protects its customers from electronic eavesdroppers and the company from government requests for its tech. WhatsApp is the latest to wade into the ever-evolving conversation on digital privacy after Apple faced down a FBI court order to unlock a terrorist’s phone. Lawmakers wants tech companies to build backdoors for their products — but for now this door remains shut.

  4. dope 812199888 693f5d8a47 o

    Cannabis Legalization Debate Blazes in India

    Is it high time for change? Marijuana has been part of Indian culture for centuries — and enjoys a sacred association with the god Shiva — but the country, perhaps bowing to Western pressure, banned it back in the 1980s. While “scoring weed in India is like getting vegetables from the market,” says one smoker, there’s a push underway to make it legal to grow, sell, buy and consume. So far legalization attempts have gone up in smoke, but the debate is growing like a weed, especially over medicinal cannabis.

  5. insulin

    US Insulin Costs Tripled Over Last Decade

    It’ll make your blood boil. A new study shows prices jumped from $4.34 per milliliter in 2002 to $12.92 in 2013 — bad news for the six million Americans who rely on it to control their diabetes. Generic versions aren’t available: Drug companies have repeatedly reformulated the drug before each 20-year patent expires. While newer, pricier insulin may be better, study authors say that old meds are better than no meds. And with insulin use reaching new highs, more patients may be forced to choose less-effective care options.

  6. amy 4413114686 376d1049fe o

    Amy Schumer Lambastes Magazine’s ‘Plus Size’ Label

    She cut them down to size. The comedian ridiculed Glamour yesterday for including her name on the cover of its “Chic at Any Size” special issue without her consent. Schumer says that since she wears a size 6 or 8 it sets unhealthy expectations for what plus size looks like. The magazine apologized, saying they simply called her out as an inspiration for body positivity. But the Trainwreck star kept rolling, asking editors to drop the term “plus size” altogether, noting, “We are done with these unnecessary labels.”